With the 2013 Singapore Writers’ Festival wrapped up, we saw local luminaries like Colin Goh, Edmund Wee, and Jeffrey Tan, amongst literary giants like Catherine Breillat and Carol Ann Duffy. Regina Koh interviews Vernetta Lopez on the writing experience.
Lopez was certainly vivacious and friendly. Despite having almost no physical contact save via email, this writer could sense the charm evident in her writing. It seems to emanate from her. In our interview, The Ridge brings a perspective upon one of the Festival’s notables.
TR: How does it feel to be a published author in Singapore?
It makes me walk a little taller whenever I remember that I actually have a published book! It’s a great validation that comes with knowing that the book sold well. It does feel incredibly satisfying that I’ve actually accomplished this.
TR: On hindsight, what do you think of publishing your memoirs?
I have no regrets. It was something that affected a lot of people in a positive way.
TR: I understand that you’ve made the transition between several careers, from being a wedding planner to actress to DJ to puppeteer etc – what would you say is the main problem with career transition?
The problem is that it wasn’t a transition; more like concurrent pathways! But yes, entering a new industry or genre of entertainment has its challenges like any career transition would have. You’re entering unchartered territory, you have the invisible wall of doubt from veterans, and you have yourself to contend with, and whether or not these are real opinions, they still have an effect on your psyche! You have to start somewhere. Everything has a first time. Just make sure you do your best.
TR: Would you say that being an author is another career path for you?
In a way, it is. But it’s not a full time thing so maybe I’ll call it a semi-career? Hobby-career? Or just don’t use the word ‘career’? It’s definitely something I constantly think about doing again and I’m always searching for what feels right. As with anything else in my career path, if I don’t feel confident that I can do it, I won’t do it. It’s not that I don’t face fear head-on; it’s more like, I’m being realistic on whether I’d be wasting my time. Plus the major factor is, will I enjoy myself? I thoroughly enjoyed myself writing my book! I hear of some writers who hole themselves up and isolate themselves from the world and their family, and are depressed and emotional, but perhaps they actually enjoy the whole process. Who’s to say? To each their own.
TR: What are you working on now? Are there other publications in the works?
I’m not actively writing something right now but I have a couple of ideas that I’ve been thinking about and I will be exploring them to see whether they have the makings of a book.
TR: In about 10-20 years, what would you reflect upon with the publication of your memoirs?
Through my cataracts, I’ll be saying to myself, gosh I love that book. People have come up to me saying that they laughed and cried with me, that they’ve felt strong and changed a part of their lives because of the encouragement they felt from the book. I think I’ll be still incredibly proud of my memoirs. I would also look back at the stories of my life and wonder how I feel about those instances now that I’m older. Perhaps I’ll find a better perspective, perhaps I’ll say what a childish freak I was or perhaps I’ll just say, ‘Oh that’s what happened’ because I would have lost my memory by then and will need to refer to the book to remind myself what happened in my life.
More on Vernetta:
Since Vernetta Lopez appeared on the scene as Denise on local hit TV sitcom, ‘Under One Roof’, in 1994, she has starred in other sitcoms, as well as movies, musicals and theatre productions, over the years. She recently completed another season of ‘Zero Hero’, a TV sitcom for children, currently the highest-rated show on the Okto channel for viewers aged 15 and below. She recently left Class 95FM to co-helm ‘The Gold Breakfast Show’ on Gold 90FM. Her quirky personality and unique voice talents have also led her to puppetry work – on Okto’s long-running children’s show, ‘Knockout’. Her autobiography Memoirs of a DJ was published last year.
image credit: Singapore Writer’s Festival 2013